The Home Office has finally published its revised Code of Practice on Preventing Illegal Working (the “draft Code”) covering the changes to the right to work check requirements for EEA citizens which come into effect on 1 July 2021.

In this article, we look at the changes that the draft Code introduces, how this will affect UK employers and the areas of continued uncertainty.

Continue Reading UK Government Publishes 1 July Right To Work Guidance

On June 7, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a recipient of Temporary Protected Status (TSP) who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible under the law to adjust status to lawful permanent residence (LPR) “merely by dint of his TPS.”  Sanchez v. Mayorkas, 593 U. S. ____ (2021).  Eligibility for LPR status generally requires an admission into the country, which means a lawful entry into the United States after inspection by an immigration officer.  The Supreme Court decided that receiving TPS does not eliminate the effect of unlawful entry.  The ruling does not deprive TPS recipients of their protected status or work authorization.

In April 2021, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) notified the public of its intention to no longer issue Employer Correction Request Notices (“no-match letters”) to employers.  SSA no-match letters advise employers that corrective action needs to be taken to resolve a discrepancy between SSA records and the information provided on one or more Forms W-2 (the wage reporting form filed by an employer with the Internal Revenue Service).  Discrepancies may include, for example, typographical errors that resulted in incorrect social security numbers.  But they also include intentional mismatches between an employee’s name and social security number, which may trigger an obligation by the employer to investigate whether the employee who presented the information at their time of hire was the true identity holder or had produced suspect documents.

Continue Reading Social Security Administration Again Pauses the Issuance of “No-Match” Letters

From June 4, 2021, the Japanese government is to implement stricter quarantine measures for travelers from New York, California, Nevada and 12 other states, as well as certain other countries, due to COVID variant infection rates.  Under the stricter quarantine measures, travelers from the applicable states and countries (regardless of nationality) will be required to stay in a government-designated facility (i.e., hotel room quarantine) for three days and, pending a negative COVID test result, are permitted to spend the remaining 11 days in self-quarantine at a place of their choice.  Such measures will also be in place for travelers from Thailand and Germany effective June 4 and have already been in place for travelers from the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and other countries.  Continue reading at Mayer Brown’s COVID-19 blog.

Starting May 3, South Korea implemented the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) pilot program, an optional system for foreign nationals from 21 visa-exempt countries, including the United States. In April, the South Korean Ministry of Justice confirmed the pilot program would continue until August, after which the program would become mandatory for visa-exempt foreign nationals in September 2021.

Continue Reading South Korea Will Mandate Electronic Travel Authorizations for Foreign Travelers Beginning in September

The EU plans to launch its EU Digital Covid Certificate (the “Certificate”) across all Member States by 1 July, although some countries, such as Ireland, may implement it at a later date.

As discussed in our previous blog, the Certificate will facilitate travel within the EU by confirming someone has been fully vaccinated with an EU approved vaccine, has had a negative test or has had the virus and recovered. The information will be in the form of a QR code and may be stored on someone’s phone or printed on paper.

Some EU countries are adopting the Certificate or relaxing their restrictions early in order to welcome back tourists as soon as possible. Greece has already successfully tested the Certificate system and has launched it. Spain will be allowing entry of fully vaccinated visitors from any country (including the US and UK) as of 7 June.  Although Spain does not have a date for launching full use of the Certificate, it is anticipated this will happen shortly to further boost the tourist industry. Estonia anticipates having the Certificate system up and running within the first half of June.

In the meantime, travelers should be aware that, even after they have implemented the Certificate, individual EU Member States may still use a “brake” mechanism to impose restrictions if they are concerned about a particular country’s epidemiological status or if there is a variant of concern or interest.  All travelers should check their destination and / or transit country’s travel advice and any restrictions prior to travelling.

The resumption of tourism will be a welcome financial boost to the economies of many EU Member States. With the summer tourist season about to kick off, we will hopefully see more EU countries adopting the Certificate to facilitate increased international tourist and business travel.

On May 26, 2021, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension of its remote I-9 verification policy that provides flexibility for employers conducting remote reviews of I-9 supporting documentation.  This extension applies to employees hired on or after June 1, 2021, and remains in effect until August 31, 2021.  As with prior iterations of the policy, employees that are covered by this extension are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements of the Form I-9 verification process until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier. Employers must note that this exception only applies to workplaces that are operating remotely.

For a more detailed analysis of the policy, please review our prior blog post on the original policy announcement.

On May 27, 2021, the Secretary of State broadened the eligibility criteria regarding categories of business travelers eligible for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent proclamations related to the spread of COVID-19.  As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure, and those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States, may now qualify for National Interest Exceptions.

Continue Reading State Department Broadens National Interest Exception Criteria for Business Travel

As the UK continues to adapt to life post-Brexit, the next important date from an immigration standpoint is 30 June 2021.

European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals who were resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 have until this date to submit their initial applications under the EU Settlement Scheme. If they do not, they will no longer have permission to remain in the UK and will have to make arrangements to leave.

Read the full Legal Update

On May 24, 2021, the US State Department announced that US citizens overseas with U.S. passports which expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use these expired passports to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.  According to the US State Department, US citizens qualify for this exception if all of the following are true:

  • The traveler is a U.S. citizen.
  • The traveler is currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • The traveler is flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or has only short-term connecting flights through a foreign country on a direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • The traveler’s expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if the traveler were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, the traveler’s expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • The expired passport is undamaged, unaltered, and in the traveler’s possession.

Continue Reading State Department Changes Policy on the Use of Expired US Passports for Travel to the US